In New York, the Empire State Building lights up for Josephine Baker

The Empire State Building lit up in the colors of France on Monday evening to honor Josephine Baker.

Under the gaze of French basketball player Evan Fournier, the iconic New York skyscraper, the Empire State Building, lit up in the colors of France on Monday evening to honor Joséphine Baker, on the eve of the entrance to the Pantheon of the black artist born in the United States.

As soon as night fell and throughout the evening, the top and tip of this 102-story art deco building sparkled blue, white and red, “in homage to artist and civil rights icon Joséphine Baker,” first black woman inducted into the Pantheon, ”according to the legendary Manhattan building’s Twitter account.

On the 86th floor, facing the city lights, the French rear of the New York Knicks, Evan Fournier, paid tribute to the “courage” of the one who was a heroine of the Resistance and a seasoned anti-racist activist.

“She was ahead of her time”

“When you look at what happened last year or two years ago,” when massive protests rocked the United States after the death of African-American George Floyd, “she was ahead of the curve. his time ”, greeted the basketball player, who participated in the ceremony with one of the actors of the series“ Emily in Paris ”, the French William Abadie, and the Consul General of France in New York, Jérémie Robert.

Also present, Jari Bouillon-Baker, one of the twelve children adopted to the four corners of the world by the Franco-American star to assert his attachment to universalism, his “rainbow tribe”.

To read : Joséphine Baker, a life of fighting

Now 68 years old, a New York resident, the man especially wanted to pay tribute to “our mother” and to “the love she had for us”. Born into a poor family in the United States, in Saint-Louis (Missouri), Joséphine Baker had tried to break into New York, before choosing Paris and France, which had become her adopted homeland.

Back in the United States, she still suffered from the segregation that struck black people, as when New York hotels refused to accommodate her in 1948, or when she forced an upscale Miami Beach club, the Copa City, to open its doors to African Americans or else they will not perform there.

In New York, the restaurant “Chez Joséphine”, founded by the one who was considered to be her thirteenth adopted child, Jean-Claude Baker, still pays homage to her.

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